Thursday, 17 March 2016
Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill 2016; In Committee
Without wanting to continue on much further, what we have is a set of democratic reforms that ultimately put power back in the hands of voters. They take the power away from us, the politicians, from the backroom operators who wield their power and influence through these deals—and effectively that is their currency in this chamber—and give it back to voters. The question of exhaustion has also been something that has been raised. We know that, ultimately, it becomes a question for voters as to how they distribute their preferences. If a voter wants to allocate preferences to a number of smaller parties and then decides to allocate a preference to one of the bigger parties, that is their choice and, in the end, what is a democracy about if it is not about giving voters the choice of who they elect?
You see, I believe in democracy. I believe in the Australian people. I believe in the Australian people's ability to make the right decision. And one of the great things about a democracy is that, whatever the outcome of an election, the people have always got it right. I have a lot of faith in people—unlike those opposite, who want to continue to have a set of rules that are rigged instead of those rules which are designed to keep power within that small clique who love exercising and wielding power through those backroom preference deals. Ultimately, at a time when in the parliament we are often fighting against the slow and gradual erosion of democracy, what a great day it is when we can say that today we have stood up, we have strengthened our democracy and we have given more power back to the people.